Misconceptions about Anger
Anger makes us feel powerful and unapproachable and therefore it makes us feel safe from harm. We believe that our anger will hold people at arm’s length either through intimidation or through ambivalence.
But here’s the problem: this feeling of safety is a false sense of security.
The truth is this: your anger is not going to deter someone who is determined to hurt you.
In fact, you may be inviting conflict by making yourself look like a challenge. “He thinks he can scare me into staying away but I refuse to be intimidated…” “She thinks she can ignore me and I’ll disappear—well I’ll show her…”
An Alternative to Anger
What if—instead of harboring anger for the purpose of self-protection, you take your power back by refusing to be affected by the one who hurt you? You know the old saying: “It takes two to tango.” You are participating in the dance when you shut yourself down and refuse to forgive. Forgiveness is disarming—it actually renders your “enemy” impotent. How is this so? It is so because YOU are in control of your responses and attitudes. You confuse your offender’s game plan and eventually—he will give up.
The Benefits of Letting Go of Anger
Now here’s another thing to consider: while your anger probably does not deter the one who hurt you—it will likely discourage or even frighten those who wish to know you and love you. That means that the fortress you build fails to shut out pain and instead inhibits love. You tear down that useless structure by keeping your heart open so that the relationships you long for have a way to get in.
Are you asking this question: But what if I get hurt again? I would love to promise that maintaining an open heart protects you from hurt. But I don’t want to lie. We live in a world of broken and imperfect people and this is a formula for pain. However, I can promise you that as you learn from past mistakes and wrong assumptions, you will be wiser and discerning without shutting down and walling others out. Use what you’ve learned—YES! Refuse to try again—NO!
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis B. Smedes
There’s more to discover so don’t leave just yet. Learn more about the power of forgiving.MORE ON FORGIVENESS